Press Release OLAF/08/2000, 27 September 2000

The new administrative structure of OLAF is the first formal step in the redefinition of the internal working methods of the Office under the authority of the new Director General, who was only appointed on 1st March 2000, after 9 months of interim management by the former Director of UCLAF.

Mr. Franz-Hermann BRÜNER, Director of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), today announced a new organisation chart for the Office and the related personnel appointments.

"The first objective of the new structure is to reorientate OLAF towards its mission and activities as set out by the European Institutions, establishing, in 1999, the European Anti-Fraud Office", Mr. BRÜNER said. "This flexible reorientation takes into account the extra resources available to OLAF this year, and the expected increases in the 2001 budget. The reorientation follows detailed examination of the workings of the Office and consultations with the Supervisory Committee and my staff, since my appointment on 1st March".

The essential features of the new organisation of OLAF, which last July moved offices to new, bigger and more secure premises in the heart of the European quarter of Brussels, are as follows:

Two directorates have been created (one for "Policy, legislation and legal affairs" and another for "Investigations and Operations") ;

The existing "Intelligence Unit" has been completely modified, and given the importance of the intelligence function, both in targeting operational strategy and in providing support to Member States, it will report directly to the Director General;

Two new units reporting to the Director General on "Administration, Human Resources & Budget" and "Communication, Public Relations and Training Co-ordination" have been created. The first Unit is to take over the important activities of Administration, Human Resources and Budget given the Office's substantial degree of independence in these matters. The second Unit has been created in order to ensure that the Office is clear and effective in its dealings with the media.
Within the Directorate for Policy, Legislation and legal Affairs, three new units have been created. One is responsible for judicial support, consisting of magistrates and other judicial-legal experts, who are to follow-up fraud cases with the national judicial authorities, and to assist in the reinforcement of case preparation in the Office itself. Another Unit is responsible for legislation and legal affairs and a third Unit is responsible for Community policies, fraud proofing, administrative and financial follow-up.

The new directorate for investigation and operations, based on two pools of investigators, cover all casework activity (internal and external investigations and operations co-ordination). Mr BRÜNER's intention is to have a flexible and effective working structure for all investigative work, completely changing the organisation of the work from the previous structure. This new structure is similar to that adopted by the Commission for the new Internal Audit Service. According to the overall strategic approach of the European Commission in fighting against fraud, the new structure also has the objective of organising OLAF functions to represent a true platform of services - that is to provide services in all the areas of its expertise by making its know-how and multidisciplinary experience available to all the national bodies or authorities, and to facilitate new operational co-operation in all the areas of the fight against fraud or corruption on a regular, sure and flexible basis.

Currently, OLAF comprises approximately 160 agents. Recruitment of specialists in the fight against fraud as Temporary Agents is under way, and will contribute to increasing the total number of staff to 330 persons towards the end of 2001. The characteristic of OLAF's team of investigators is its multidisciplinary nature which makes it possible to have an overall and intersectoral approach (in the police, judicial, financial, customs and agricultural fields, etc). The fact that the majority of the investigators come from national investigation services is valuable in more than one way, firstly at the level of expertise, but also in maintaining close relations with the national investigators. This partnership is essential in the fight against the fraudsters and criminals who harm Community interests.

Almost 1,200 applications have been received by OLAF following the call for applications, published in March 2000, to set up a reserve list of temporary staff specialised in the various aspects of the fight against fraud. The selection boards are examining these applications and will draw up a short list of about 270 candidates to be interviewed in October-November.

"It is only the first step and a great deal of organisational work will await OLAF again in future months", Mr. BRÜNER said, "but with a new administrative structure, in new headquarters and with extra resources available, OLAF, in co-operation with its national partners will do its best to counter the criminals, fraudsters and corruption, and to be to some extent the engine of the "Europe of legality" against the "international nature of crime" harmful to Community interests".

Mr BRÜNER's staff are now also working to prepare another important step in a long-term effort to define and document a comprehensive set of rules, procedures and guidelines, necessary for the legal, transparent and effective operation of the Office: an "OLAF book of rules", which will be very important especially in view of the increase in the number of new agents.

Mr Alessandro Butticé
Spokesman of the European Anti-fraud Office (OLAF)
Tel : +32 (0)2 296.5425
Fax: +32 (0)2 299.8101

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